After a meeting with Cherry Creek school leaders, embattled high school teacher Jay Bennis’s lawyer, David Lane, said he expects Bennis to be back teaching on Monday. While Bennis did not apologize at the meeting, he did say he wished he had done some things differently.
….he should have used a different dictator when comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler in a geography class, his lawyer David Lane said Thursday. Bennish also told district officials that he should have balanced each lecture “contemporaneously” on controversial issues rather than over the course of the term, Lane said.
Lane pointed out to reporters instances where Bennis has given both sides:
Earlier in the school year, Bennish took two days to talk about the Danish newspaper cartoon critical of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. One day he gave the Muslim perspective about why the cartoon was offensive, the next day he gave the “traditional Western liberal view,” Lane said. Bennish also told students he’d give them extra credit if they joined either a pro- or anti-Columbus Day celebration and wrote about it, Lane said.
Bennish will learn his fate today. If it goes against him, Lane promises a fight.
“I’m guaranteeing you that if they fire him, or suspend him, or take a paycheck from him, that will very likely result in a trial in federal court where the whole issue at the trial would be, did they fire him for the content of his speech or did they fire him based on a policy violation?” Lane said.
I’ll be giving my views on the Bennish flap tonight on Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes show which airs at 7:00 pm MST. Suffice it to say I don’t think Bennis should be fired or that teachers should be prevented from advocating their point of view to high school students. I do think, however, that when they do so, they must acknowledge the opposing point of view and have someone play devil’s advocate. We want our kids to be exposed to different points of view. It encourages them to think for themselves and decide where they stand.
If you haven’t already heard it, the audio of Bennish’s controversial talk to students is here.